It's no secret that Valentine's Day is pretty commercialized these days. For a more unique Valentine's Day experience—one that doesn't involve buying greeting cards, dinner or flowers—why not treat yourself (loved ones optional) to a local Valentine's Day-themed performance on stage?
One option is a poetry event called The Love Jones Experience Part II ($10, 8 p.m. on Thursday, February 5, at Laughs Unlimited, 1207 Front Street; http://tinyurl.com/lovejones2). Hosted by poet Terry Moore's T-Mo Entertainment, it features poetry by Taalam Acey (pictured), Bri Blue and Ike Torres; plus live music by LSB, Tone Malone and Shawn Raiford.
Another good idea is a performance of Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues ($5-$7, 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 12, at Sacramento State University's Union Ballroom, 6000 J Street; www.theuniversityunion.com/unique). It's based on real interviews with hundreds of women who talk about experiences with intimacy, relationships, love, sex, violence and more. Proceeds from this performance go to My Sister's House, a Sacramento-area nonprofit that helps victims of domestic violence from local Asian and Pacific-Islander communities.